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Eradicate corporal punishment in schools
Caning a student leading to injury or even death is disgusting, to say the least. Yes, it is right to punish students, but there are better ways of doing this without causing them harm. Corporal punishment may also discourage many students from going to such schools.
Last June, students from a Nyeri school went on strike because of corporal punishment. Also in the same month, a video of a student being caned for failing to score 400 marks went viral, with many condemning the act.
According to studies, one billion children experience violence each year. Experiencing violence as a child has huge consequences on mental and physical health.
Children spend more time in school than anywhere else outside the home. They need to be safe there. Here, we examine the problem of teacher violence, drawing on studies from low- and middle-income countries.
Teacher-perpetrated violence is widespread and unacceptable and the education sector must do more to eliminate it from schools
Violent discipline in schools continues to be an everyday reality for many children around the world, and is a clear violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Interventions need to be put in place to help teachers reflect on social norms and beliefs about violence.
But to stop using violent discipline, teachers need to be equipped with a range of alternative discipline strategies.
When teachers are committed to non-violence, their motivation to use alternative discipline strategies increases. When they see that alternative discipline strategies are effective in managing student behaviour, their attitudes towards using violence change.
Reporting teacher violence is challenging, and needs effective collaboration with a range of actors outside the schools.
Teachers also need to control their emotions before dealing with their students. Some punish their students to release stress from their homes.
Teachers, like other human beings, also go through difficult times. Therefore, they may need counselling on how to tackle life’s challenges.
Such stress makes some teachers to punish their students. However, teachers need to take care of the students as if they were their own.
What happened in Nandi County should not happen again. Such teachers need to be sacked and charged in court.
Morgan Wanyonyi & Purity Kadala, Migori